Dakar: Stage 9 - Joan Font suffers at the start of the second week of the Dakar

Dakar: Stage 9 - Joan Font suffers at the start of the second week of the Dakar

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  • The rider from Vic gets stuck in a ford and loses an hour and a half before being able to continue.
  • The FN Speed Team rider and his co-driver Themis Lopez only dropped one position in the overall T3 standings, where they are now 19th in their Can-Am Maverick.
  • "The Dakar is survival. We are in the race, the car is in one piece and that's what's important."

The ninth stage of the Dakar, which kicked off the second week of the race on Tuesday, was not kind to Joan Font. The driver from Vic got stuck in a river crossing and the Can-Am number 318 was at a standstill for an hour and a half before being able to continue. Together with his co-driver Themis Lopez, the FN Speed Team driver took almost 6 hours to complete the 359 kilometers of the special stage between Riyadh and Haradh, in 38th position in the T3 category (light prototypes). However, in the general standings, they only dropped one place to 19th, still in the Top 20 of the category.

In a Dakar that is full of surprises every day, the rain was once again an unexpected factor for the drivers on the resumption of the race after the rest day in Riyadh. After a few strings of dunes at the start, the first part of the special stage included the passage of tracks inside dry rivers, which were flooded by the downpour. Before the neutralization at kilometer 162, Font was riding behind some trucks and could not avoid getting stuck in the water and mud. "We were driving inside the ruts of the trucks, at low speed in the river, and in the end we got stuck," explains the rider from Vic.

The incident allowed Font and Lopez to experience first-hand the spirit of camaraderie that prevails in the toughest race in the world, when a truck stopped to pull their Can-Am Maverick out of the quagmire. The FN Speed Team pair's guardian angel was the MAN 6x6 number 529 of Belgian driver Dave Ingels, Dutchman Jos Schotanus and Portuguese João Dias. "In circumstances like this, the Dakar is all about camaraderie and helping each other out. They have proved to be true companions," says Font.

Back on more or less solid ground, the Doga, Racing Oil and FN Speed driver picked up the pace on the rest of the special, with dirt tracks in canyons, rocky passes and faster tracks on sand, with many changes of direction and complicated navigation, which the driver and co-driver managed well. In the end, that extra time lost was the only downside of the day. "The Dakar is survival. We're in the race, the car is in one piece and that's what's important", says the former Spanish gravel rally champion optimistically.

This Wednesday, the tenth stage of the Dakar will take the caravan from Haradh to Shaybah. There will be 623 kilometers in total, including a special stage of 114 kilometers. At first glance, the timed route seems short, but it will be far from easy, as it will be almost entirely over dunes and will leave the caravan on the verge of the marathon stage in the immense desert of the Empty Quarter.

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Automatic translation from the original Spanish version available on www.todoterreno.pt
Source FN Speed Team

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